Every year for the past decade, Rand Fishkin of Moz has made SEO and marketing predictions for the year ahead. Here are his predictions for 2018 — with our two cents thrown in for good measure — how well do you think they stack up?

Originally the local pack appeared down below the organic listings and showed 7 businesses:

Organic Click Referrals by Google Will Drop by 5% By the End of 2018

Last year, SEO experts identified a rather worrying trend. Google Search was generating fewer clicks on desktop and mobile. While some saw this as a glitch, Fishkin and others believe that Google is deliberately slowing search growth to more aggressively push ads, knowledge panels, featured snippets,

and instant answers

in SERPs. This doesn’t spell the end of SEO by any means, more so greater competition for a slightly lower number of click opportunities.

Google Will Lose Market Share to Alexa

As voice search devices improve in terms of functionality — including the addition of a screen — Google will lose market share to Alexa. The Echo Show is proving adept at this and as more and better devices enter the market, Google is going to lose a lot of the simple searches that currently take place on Google and Google Images. eMarketer estimates that Google will only take 25% of the smart-speaker market in comparison to 70% for Echo in 2018.

But Google’s woes don’t end there — device makers, like LG, are increasingly turning to Amazon when introducing new domestic appliances with built-in voice features. Currently, Google Assistant is supported on 1,500 devices in comparison to 4,000 for Alexa. While this trend won’t have an impact on the world of SEO just yet, the impact it will have on voice search in the long-term should prove very interesting indeed.

YouTube Will See Serious Competition

It may not happen this year but it’s definitely on the cards as the feud between Amazon and Google saw the online retail giant pull the YouTube app from the Amazon Echo Show and the Fire TV. While there has been talk of resolution between the two that could see YouTube returned to Amazon devices, other major tech companies are likely to launch a competitor — or provide financial backing to a startup with an eye to acquisition — to the world’s most popular video hosting platform.

Changes that Facebook has made to the way videos are displayed and distributed in a major effort to make the world’s most popular social media platform more appealing to both users and video creators. Along with changes to the way videos are displayed, such as no longer cropping vertical videos and videos following the audio settings of users’ devices, it’s also introducing streaming apps which allow users to watch Facebook videos from their TVs.

With the move toward more professionally produced content, Facebook is entering into direct competition with YouTube, which is the second largest search engine after Google and receives over 1 billion unique visitors every month. And as video is really gaining traction in SEO, could we see more marketers focusing their attentions on Facebook’s video as a means to improve SERP visibility?

WordPress Will Grow Its Market Share from 25 — 35%

WordPress really has so much going for it — flexibility, extensibility, cost structure, plugins, developers, etc. — and the way businesses and organisations across the globe are migrating to it in such numbers indicates that this trend will only get stronger. Recently, WordPress has upped its investments in marketing and growth and with no other free or low-priced alternatives offering anywhere near what WordPress is able to offer, it seems likely that it will grow its market share to 35%, if not more.

WordPress is great for SEO — Search Engine Journal and others claim it’s the best platform for SEO — as it’s such an easy CMS to optimise. In fact, anyone that’s remotely tech savvy could install WordPress and optimise their site for SEO without any knowledge of coding whatsoever.

Twitter and LinkedIn Will Reduce External Traffic Referrals

Just as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have taken measures to limit clicks which take users away from their platforms to external sites, so too will Twitter and LinkedIn. The aim here is clear — to keep users on their platforms for longer by limiting the visibility of external clicks. This could be done algorithmically or structurally, though both platforms will need to reward quality content that helps to keep users on their sites for longer.

At Least One Major SEO Provider Will Fail

The SEO software field is a very crowded marketplace indeed these days with at least ten of the big players pulling over US$10 million in revenue annually. And with Google aggressively pushing its Search Console through improvements and its efforts to make rank checking more difficult, it seems likely that one or more SEO providers will fail this year, possibly through an unfavourable acquisition or buyout.

Facebook Audience Network Will Compete with AdWords

Facebook Audience Network is lagging far behind Google AdWords but this will change if it gets the investment required to become a serious website adtech player. While Facebook has the data to make its ads relevant and of a high quality, at present it’s underfunded and hasn’t reached its potential in terms of effectiveness or ad reach.

However, should Facebook allocate more resources — and seek other revenue streams as Facebook usage in developed countries levels out — it could become a major adtech player and effectively compete with AdWords.

PWAs and Mobile-First Websites Will Start to Replace Mobile Apps

Mobile apps were once seen as essential to online success in business but that’s changing as PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) and mobile-first websites are rapidly taking their place. App stores will continue to be popular and continue to generate downloads — games are like to still retain their popularity — though it’s likely that only the top apps and app developers will retain their hold on the market while all others gradually fade away into obscurity. Here’s an insightful Google article on what a progressive web app is and how to go about developing one.

What do you make of these predictions for SEO in 2018? What major changes do you think are on the way this year?

Are you looking for a trusted provider of SEO services in BrisbaneBambrick Media is one of Brisbane’s leading SEO companies, having assisted hundreds of local and interstate businesses achieve more with their Search Engine Optimisation and Digital Marketing campaigns. We’d love to hear from you, so whenever you have time to discuss your 2018 SEO goals with a member of the team, get in touch via our Contact page or call us on (07) 3216 1151.